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Mackenzie Patel

Hello my adventurous world travelers. Another thirty one days, another 44,640 minutes, and yet another 2,678,400 seconds have elapsed, dragging out the stories of our lives with more nouns, adjectives, verbs, and punctuation along the way. My particular novel was bursting with chapters this month because so many different events changed in my life. Most importantly, July was the first month I’ve ever lived on my own in college. The sometimes brutal transition from a cozy home life to a cramped dorm with unhygienic people you’ve never met before can be hard, but it’s been rather seamless for me. I’ve experienced a wild amount of things this past month, from Swing dancing to ceramic painting to attending a stereotypical frat party with fountains of cheap alcohol. So what was I into this month?


  • The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

An old man. A young boy. A wide, unending sea peppered with life and the dead. That’s basically the summary of this pithy 127 page novel that Hemingway wrote in 1952. Although the storyline was boring and each sentence was strung together with short, uninteresting words and simple phrases, I still enjoyed this quick read. The metaphors behind the dull imagery (i.e. the patched mass, the unrelenting massive fish, and the roaming lions on the beach in Santiago’s dream) were incredibly rich, heavy, and thought-provoking. I loved the description of the masculine lions owning the beaches of Africa because they represented vitality and youth that had slipped through Santiago’s hand due to the acceleration of time. The young boy woven throughout the rather spare plot was also poignant, especially because he cared and respected the “old man” so tenderly.

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy


I’m currently only 230 pages into this tempestuous Russian beast, but I’m absolutely in love with its style and characters already. Although the initial declaration of love between Anna and Count Vronsky was hasty and dramatic, the descriptions of their facial animation and sensual body language were beautiful. I know how this psychological drama ends, but I realized this novel wasn’t just about a silly extramarital affair about two rich courtiers. The life stories of many other colorful characters (i.e. Nicholas and Levin) are laced throughout the thousand words, providing more food for thought than Anna or Vronsky alone ever could.

  • Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Rage, rage against the dying of the light! I first saw this epic poem about dying and old age freshmen year of high school, but I always remembered it because of its desperate tone and vivid diction about fighting against the extinguishing of life. Since I’m watching Interstellar in my Astronomy class, this well known poem has reappeared in my mind in the creeping, warbling voice of Dr. Brand.

Other literature I’ve been enjoying:

  • Double Take by Kevin Connolly
  • Experiencing Tchaikovsky, A Listener’s Companion by David Schroeder



  • Beethoven by Warhol


Warhol soaked this silkscreen in 1987, and it the quintessential pop art piece. I love how Beethoven, with his wild hair and crazed eyes, is layered with garish hues of blue, red, and yellow! It’s classical culture slashed by modernism, but I do think this rendition has a certain appeal/juxtaposition to it. This work resides in the Harn Museum in Gainesville among the stereotypical dollar signs and blotted flowers that Warhol is famous for. Also, the overlap of sketchy music notes adds a collage-like effect to the salad of quarter notes and gaudy tones.

  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky by Kuznetsov


I seem to have a slight obsession with Russian composers and authors, and the illustrious Tchaikovsky is no exception. This suave portrait, so intense, emotional, and lusty at the same time, is bursting with dramatic feeling and talent. The fiery look kindled in Tchaikovsky’s eyes is so immediate and enthralling, as if begging the viewer to wonder “what is raging within this storm man’s mind?” Pyotr is my favorite composer of all time, so I am quite enamored with this glorious depiction of his passionate character. I also find the harsh green brushstrokes bring out the gleam of his deep set and intriguing eyes.


Month by month, this “music” category keeps expanding, crawling ever lower down the webpage as my knowledge and love affair with classical music burgeons more deeply. Contrasted to my rather depressing music favorites last month, I was enamored with playful, bantering, and romantic melodies this July.

  • Liebestraum by Franz Liszt




Translated elegantly as “love dream,” this rapturous melody aches with romantic vigor and the allure of the unreality. The ivory piano keys are caressed to the utmost sensuality, especially in the outburst of feeling that occurs around the 1.5 minute mark. Liebesträume was penned in 1850 and is based off a series of love poems by German authors Uhland and Freiligrath. Completely the opposite of Adagio for Strings, this exquisite piece proves that love is possible, even if only within the confined sheets of pretty music scores.

  • Suite from The Gadfly, Romance by Dmitri Shostakovich




The lone violin voice set against the background of a gentle piano entrances me every time I hear this. My mind wonders to a fervent countryside love affair between a gritty farmer and a peasant girl—a more “wholesome” love than some of the more pretentiously romantic pieces. Images of rocking chairs, mason jars, and a freshly waxed wooden floor are evoked, suggesting a sentimental tone.

  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas




This famous work resides within Fantasia, the revolutionary film produced by Disney in 1940 that set animated scenes to the tune of beloved classical melodies. Nearly everyone can recall the iconic scene of Mickey’s mischief and the misbehaving brooms with this whimsical work adding to the comical drama. Along with Dukas, the booming styles of Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Bach, and Ponchielli are represented as well, ranging from the modern Rite of Spring to the fluffy Waltz of the Flowers. I enjoy this quirky masterpiece, especially the original score, because of its crackly, authentic sound quality and the narrative quality it contains. Watch the full Fantasia film here.

  • Dance of the Arabians by Pyotr Tchaikovsky




This man is faultless in my eyes, and I view anything he composes as pure gold. Although I first heard this piece on the Fantasia soundtrack, I know it belongs with the other fruity scores in The Nutcracker (one of the most famous Russian ballets). The strings whine to no end, their high-pitched wail so fascinating and colorful to me. There’s also a dash of the sensual in the notes, which sound as though they’re being pulled apart like sticky taffy. I’m not sure how one would groove along to this, but it’s certainly a fearsome thing for the ears to behold.


I’ve watched a multitude of films this month, mostly because my university library has endless shelves of DVDs to check out. I may or may not have cheekily entered the Wes Anderson cult because his movies are extremely artistic and contain delicious juxtapositions…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson
  • Darjeeling Limited by Wes Anderson
  • Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson
  • Amadeus by Miloš Forman

Watch Mozart’s ridiculously hilarious laugh here!

  • Immortal Beloved by Bernard Rose
  • The Pianist by Roman Polanski

What have you been in love with this month?

See you next month–The amazing sketch was done by Mar<3!

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